Much ado has been made about McDonald's recent turnaround: After years of declining sales, the chain hit on a major success with all-day breakfast, and now things are looking up. In an attempt to continue driving sales, the chain recently pledged to focus on serving higher-quality food — e.g., artificial preservative-free McNuggets — in an attempt to compete with the kind of fast-casual chains that have been stealing its customers away in recent years.
While it's certainly true that the rise in popularity of places like Panera and (pre E. coli, at least) Chipotle have made a dent in McDonald's sales, a look at sales figures shows just how dominant the Big Mac slinger still is in America. Fast food industry magazine QSR just ranked America's top 50 quick-service chains based on 2015 sales, and it's no contest: McDonald's sales dwarf even those of the number-two ranked chain, Starbucks.
And it's not even the biggest chain in the country: While it has more than 14,000 locations in the U.S., the Golden Arches' sprawl is nothing compared to Subway, which has more than 27,000 locations (yet sales that only total about one-third of McDonald's).
• The QSR 50 [QSR]
• All McDonald's Coverage [E]
• All Chains Coverage [E]